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Duluth mayor focuses on future in State of the City address

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DULUTH, MN -- On Monday night, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson addressed the City of Duluth during the State of the City address.

In her speech, she touched on the pandemic, policing, and the city budget. She also reflected on the past year. Larson said dealing with the pandemic has been tough on most cities and Duluth is no exception.

"Duluth, we not only got through this last year together, but we also got through it stronger and more resilient than ever," said Mayor Larson.

Now, Larson is looking ahead and shared the new initiatives she has planned for the year ahead.

"I promised to build a more inclusive, collaborative, fair, and sustainable city for all neighbors, across all neighborhoods. This core vision still guides me," said Mayor Larson.

The first initiative is what Larson calls Community Policing 2.0. It aims at creating a more community-oriented policing approach in which everyone feels safe.

"I’ve directed our police department to engage with our community in a top to bottom Racial Bias Audit to identify problems and areas we need to address in our approach to policing," said Larson.

The second initiative highlighted is a new service called 311. It's a phoneline aimed at taking all non-emergency city information or requests.

"Have a complaint to make? Call 311. See a streetlight out? Call 311. Don't know whether you need a building permit for that shed? Call 311," Larson said.

Lastly, Mayor Larson announced the city will commit $2 Million to create the Duluth Housing Trust Fund to help create more affordable housing in the city.

"It will help rehab or renovate dilapidated units to make them livable, develop infill sites, and support accessory dwellings on existing properties," said Larson

With the challenges of the past year behind us, Larson said it's time to focus on the future.

"A more just normal, more equitable, sustainable, and connected than ever before. For this we are ready. We are ready for this work," Larson said.

Mayor Larson also touched on trying to bring more affordable and accessible internet to the Twin Ports.

John Cardinale

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